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The centerpiece of this photo tour is Lake Junin in the Peruvian Andes.  At this location we should be able to photograph several rare and spectacular endemic birds including Black-breasted Hillstar, Junin Rail, Junin Grebe, lots of other nice birds including Chilean Flamingo, Giant Coot, Andean Goose and some beautiful mammals including Vicuna and Mountain Viscacha.  Andean Fox and Pampas Cat are possible.  We will spend a couple days photographing seabirds of the Humboldt Current including the spectacular Inca Tern, Peruvian Pelican, Nazca Booby and Humboldt Penguin.  On the way to Junin we will look for and photograph birds such as the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, White-bellied Cinclodes, Black-necked Woodpecker, Peruvian Sheartail and Great Inca Finch.  This is a high-altitude tour, with us spending 3 nights in Junin at over 13,000 feet, we will gradually work our way to this elevation to try to acclimatize on the way.  So, it’s not without difficulty, but photographers who go will be rewarded with  photos of some of South America’s rarest birds as well as some interesting mammals.  There’s only one feeding station on the main tour.  The extension has a lot of feeding stations.   

Cost and Logistics

Tour cost: $5,450 with a $500 single supplement, $4,950 for a non-photographer. 


January 12th – Arrival at Lima airport, transfer to a nice hotel in the Miraflores district. 

January 13th – Morning photography of Peruvian Pelicans on the Malecon in Lima.  Then check out and transfer to Pucusana area.  Afternoon photographing at Pantanos de Villa which is usually a good location to photograph Great Grebe, it has a large congregation of wintering Franklin’s Gulls and the beautiful Many-colored Rush Tyrant is possible.  A nice hotel near the beach. 

January 14th – Today we will have both morning and afternoon boat trips in Pucusana to photograph Inca Terns, Peruvian Pelicans, Nazca Boobies, Humboldt Penguins, Red-legged and Guanay Cormorants, Belcher’s Gulls and more.  Same Hotel as the 13th.

January 15th – This morning, we will visit a reserve in the hills not far from the coast where there are many Oasis Hummingbirds, the endemic Thick-billed Miner is very tame and easily photographed here.  Then we will check out and start heading up towards the mountains, ending at our comfortable bungalows.  There are some birds on the property so we will spend what remaining time we have available there.  Lodge: Santa Eulalia

January 16th – This morning, we will visit a location that is very good for photographing Torrent Ducks.  We will also be on the lookout for endemic species such as Black-necked Woodpecker and Great Inca Finch.  In the afternoon we will photograph near the lodge, the flowers attract some different hummingbird species.  Lodge: Santa Eulalia

January 17th – Today we will travel through the whole of the Santa Eulalia valley, starting out in the lower areas we will be on the lookout for Black-necked Woodpeckers, Great Inca Finch, Andean Condors and other species. We will have a packed lunch and in the afternoon we will ascend to high elevations, it is here where we will be looking for Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and White-bellied Cinclodes.  We will end up at the end of the day at a nice lodge in San Mateo which is about 10,000 feet.  Lodge: San Mateo

January 18th – Today we will spend our time at high elevations photographing Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, White-bellied Cinclodes, Mountain Caracara and other birds and mammals, in the late afternoon we will transfer to our next hotel, a bit higher up in the Andes (12,200 feet).

January 19th – We will check out after breakfast and head up to Lake Junin.  We will photograph the Junin Rail and other birds which come to a feeding station there including, Black-winged Ground-Dove, Spot-winged Pigeon as well as the beautiful Peruvian Sierra Finch and Golden Grosbeak.  Here the amazing Black-breasted Hillstar is often around.  Lodge: A nice hotel in Junin (13,400 feet)

January 20th and 21st – We have two full days of photography in Junin, we will have a boat trip on the lake to photograph the endemic and endangered Junin Grebe and other waterbirds.  We will photograph a variety of waterbirds including Chilean Flamingo, Giant Coot, Crested Duck, Puna Ibis and others.  As far as mammals we will photograph the very cute Vicunas and Mountain Viscachas, we have a good chance for Andean Fox and we will look for the Pampas Cat in the evenings which is spotted regularly in the area.  Other hummingbirds in the area include Giant Hummingbird and Sparkling Violetear.  Lodge: A nice hotel in Junín (13,400 feet)

January 22nd – We will spend the morning photographing in Junin then head back down the mountain, stopping in Santa Eulalia and doing a bit of photography around the lodge in the afternoon.  Lodge: Santa Eulalia

January 23rd – We will spend the morning photographing Torrent Ducks and looking for endemics such as Black-necked Woodpecker then after lunch we will check out and head back to Lima.  Hotel: Airport Hotel

January 24th – Transfer to the airport for your return trip home or flight to Cusco for the extension. 

Manu Road Extension

This extension covers Manu Road from high elevations near Cusco to Amazonian forest in the Manu Reserve, staying at 3 different lodges.  You will photograph a wide variety of tanagers, hummingbirds, Cock-of-the-Rock and more on the extension.

Cost: $3,450 with a $400 single supplement, $3,150 for a nonphotographer spouse/companion. 


January 24th – Morning flight to Cusco, Peru, transfer to Wayquecha Cloud Forest Lodge.  Hooded Mountain Tanagers and Black-faced Brush-Finch come to the feeders here along with other species.  Lodge: Wayquecha Cloud Forest Lodge

January 25th – Morning photography at the lodge, a small pool attracts Golden-collared and Grass-green Tanagers as well as Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanagers and others.  Then after lunch we will transfer to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.  Wire-crested Thorntail, Booted Racketails and other hummers come to the feeders here.  Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

January 26th – In the morning, we will visit a Cock-of-the-Rock lek not far from the lodge and then go to a feeding station which attracts some great birds including Versicolored Barbet, Spotted and Golden-collared Tanagers and Long-tailed Sylph.  We will return to the lodge in the afternoon and do some multi-flash hummingbird photography there.  Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

January 27th – Morning photography at the lodge, then we stop at a feeding station which attracts Blue Dacnis and both Black-necked and Magpie Tanagers.  We will arrive at Manu Bio Lodge in the afternoon and will photograph the Hoatzins at the lake there.  Lodge: Manu Bio Lodge

January 28th – Today we will visit two feeding stations.  The first one has a King Vulture hide.  It’s quite good for multi-flash photography with Gould’s Jewelfront, Green and Rufous-breasted Hermits, Golden-tailed Saphire and others.  They have a corn feeder which attracts Cinereous and Undulated Tinamous.  Then we will visit a second feeding station which is excellent for Rufous-crested Coquette.  In the late afternoon we will return to the lodge.  Lodge: Manu Bio Lodge

January 29th – We will spend the early morning at the feeders at the lodge.  This is good for Spix’s and Blue-throated Piping Guans as well as Purplish and Violaceous Jays.  We will then check out and drive back to Cusco, taking our time and stopping for lunch on the way.  Lodge: A nice hotel in Cusco

January 30th – Transfer to the airport for your return trip home.  If you would like us to book a hotel for you at the Lima airport, we will be happy to or if your flight leaves the afternoon of the 30th you can fly home today.

Jose Avendaño

Jose Avendaño is a full time photography and birding tour leader from Cusco, Peru. In addition to being a very good photographer and excellent birder, Jose is accredited as a cultural guide as well. Jose is known for his excellent sense of humor.

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